Informing social policy and the political process

The needs of citizens are changing rapidly. Government policies and social programs need to respond to these changing needs. And in an age of economic uncertainty there is increased pressure for accountability of expenditure – on governments, political parties and NGOs.

Robust, innovative research is needed to guide the development of policies and political strategies, and to evaluate their effectiveness and return on investment.

TNS has the leading political and social research unit in the world. With over 500 dedicated social researchers in more than 40 countries, TNS Political & Social is uniquely placed to conduct research on any social issue, in any environment.

We assist decision makers in a wide range of policy areas: health, education, social services, environment, labour market, family policy, public transport, road safety, justice, community integration - to name a few.

We also conduct election polling and social polling in many countries around the world.

Our clients include governments, major NGOs, political parties, the media, and leading international and national institutions.

Explore our specialist expertise below

  • Large, complex social surveys

    TNS Political & Social are industry leaders in designing, conducting and managing complex social surveys. We have developed expertise in a wide of social policy issues such as education, health, social services, environment, employment, parenting and child protection, public transport, justice, immigration and community integration.

    Our world-best methodology experts ensure a robust design to measure the most complex social issues. Our quality control processes ensure accurate data to inform government policies and decision making.

    We employ the full range of data collection techniques – face to face, online, telephone, mobile. In fact we have the largest face-to-face interviewing network in the world. Through TNS Digital Life we are leaders in understanding digital and mobile technologies. Our global network allows efficient management of multi-country surveys.

  • Behaviour change and social marketing

    The aim of much government policy and many NGO programs is to change peoples’ behaviour. There is increasing recognition that to achieve success we need to understand as much as we can about how to influence human behaviour, and apply that to the design of policies and programs.

    For this purpose TNS Political & Social established the Behaviour Change Institute – comprising senior TNS researchers and leading international academics. The Institute has applied the latest thinking in the behavioural sciences and behavioural economics to develop an industry-leading Framework to guide our research in this area.

    The TNS Behaviour Change Framework offers the following advantages:

    • Simple and pragmatic – easy to understand and apply, works in the real world
    • Robust – solidly grounded in the very latest thinking in behavioural theory and behavioural economics
    • Comprehensive – the TNS Behaviour Web ensures that nothing is missed, and that the research process ‘covers all bases’

    National governments and major NGOs around the world use the TNS Behaviour Change Framework to help them plan, implement, and evaluate behaviour change and social marketing programs.

  • Program evaluation and stakeholder management

    Economic uncertainty is putting increased pressure on budgets for governments and NGOs. This in turn means a greater focus on accountability of expenditure and an increasing need to demonstrate return on investment.

    TNS offers specialised expertise in program evaluation – in a variety of environments ranging from government service programs in developed countries to donor programs in the developing world.

    We use customised, pragmatic approaches to evaluate the effectiveness, efficiency, sustainability and community impact of social programs worldwide. Our specific services include:

    • Development of evaluation frameworks
    • Action research models
    • Cost benefit and cost effectiveness analysis
    • Econometric modelling
    • Impact assessment

    We also use TRI*M - a world-best monitoring tool with international benchmarking capability - to measure service quality, customer retention, program effectiveness, and organisational reputation.

  • Social media analytics

    Although the Internet is still not as used as television or the radio by the public at large, it is becoming a major source of information for a constantly growing number of people. With the emergence of personal blogs and social networks like Facebook (created in 2004) or Twitter (launched in 2006), the Web 2.0 is now turning into a vast interactive platform where people discuss, comment or share pieces of information and are creating, to a certain degree a new Agora. For public decision makers, the understanding of what is being shared and said spontaneously about their policies, programmes or behaviours is a must if one wants to anticipate potential crisis and/or prepare specific communication strategies.

    Understanding the importance of such content, TNS has developed a dedicated social media analytics offer entirely designed to fit our clients’ needs and take into account their specific political and social environment. Our P&S digital framework includes:

    • Real-time analysis of social media content (e.g. during TV appearances, speeches…)
    • Tracking online reputation
    • Triangulation of various sources of data (social media, polling and macro data)
    • Mapping the social web including the identification of specific topics and communities
    • Pre and post-tests of arguments amongst targeted online communities (influencers, interested people…)
  • Political and social polling

    Our political teams have an unmatched record of accurate polling and voting intentions results in many countries including Germany, France, Spain, UK, Netherlands, Norway, Korea, Argentina, Indonesia – to name a few. Evaluating the potential of certain candidates or political parties, organising election nights and delivering accurate estimates of real votes cast is something TNS is highly specialised in.

    Our strategic advice to political organisations across the globe is based on our extensive knowledge of the electoral cycle and the role of traditional and new media in that process. For instance, TNS was the preferred partner to service the European Parliament during the last two European Elections.

    Last but not least, we measure and analyse on a daily basis around the world the pulse of public opinion on key topical issues for media partners or research organisations. Our data inform major media organisations and deliver unique insights to political leaders.

    Our services in Political and Social polling include amongst others:

    • Optimization of positioning in the political landscape
    • Insight in voting behaviours/patterns
    • Reputation management for political Institutions
    • Delivery of voting estimates during election nights.
  • International research

    TNS specialises in managing complex multi-country Political and Social surveys, making optimum use of the unique capabilities of the wider TNS global network. We are servicing a.o. the European Institutions, the World Bank and many international NGOs. Our 500+ dedicated political and social researchers working across the globe enable us to better understand complex multinational and multicultural contexts.

    One of our teams, TNS opinion, has close to 40 years' experience in coordination of international research. This company is 100% focused on this expertise which makes it unique in the whole research industry. With in-house translation management teams covering up to 80 different languages, cutting edge coordination tools and Political & Social experts, TNS delivers to its clients the most compelling offer when it comes to international research.

    In fact, TNS conducts the largest political & social research contracts in the world:

    • The Standard Eurobarometer (CAPI surveys) contract conducted since 2004 for the European Commission and the European Parliament: probably the most important face-to-face opinion survey in the world.
    • The Flash Eurobarometer surveys (CATI surveys) on behalf of the European Commission and the European Parliament. This framework contract is composed of mainly telephone surveys (landlines and mobile phones) covering both the general public and a wide range of specific target groups (including sub-groups of the population and elite targets).

    For more information about the Eurobarometer and the latest releases please go to the EC website: